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Trip to April 2018
The place I wanted to go was JSA Panmunjom. However, unless Koreans were registered as a group and visited as a group, there was no way to visit the JSA as an individual. So I joined DMZ tour. The DMZ tour was the closest place to visit the Demilitarized Zone (Except the truce village of Panmunjom) as a civilian. This was the DMZ tour which was the biggest event and interest for my family trip.
You can apply for the DMZ tour in several ways. I joined DMZ tour through a local travel agency a day before. My family took ID card and waited at the pick-up place that the travel agency told us. When I checked the products of various travel agencies, the DMZ tour usually had similar schedules. The most visited course was Imjingak theme park - Dora Observatory - Third Tunnel - Dorasan Station Course. Inside the course, it is of course to go through the Unification.
★ Paju City is providing information on the DMZ tour. Click here and you can go to Paju City's official website for tourism and culture.
1. Imjingak Peace Nuri Park
It took about an hour to get to Imjingak Peace Nuri Park from the Seoul City Center. Imjingak Peace Nuri Park was bigger and wider than I expected. There were various facilities, and surprisingly, there was a small amusement park.
At the Peace Nuri Park, where Mangbaedan is located, a sad visit is made every year by displaced people. However, without forgetting this pain, the Republic of Korea wants to move toward a peaceful world. So the Ministry of Government Administration of the Republic of Korea named Imjingak "Peace Nuri Park." This place has become a place where the scars of war and the touch of peace coexist long ago. There were more things to see here than I thought. Therefore, if you visit here, it would be okay to spend a day at Imjingak Peace Nuri Park.
*Mangbaedan: This is a place where displaced people who live in the South after leaving their hometowns in North Korea bowing to their hometowns every year.
(1) Imjingak Steam locomotive
The steam locomotive, which was punctured by the actual bullet, brought back the scars of the war. Trains were installed near Jangdan Station in the DMZ, using discarded rails. This was because it means restoring the Gyeongui railway, which was operated by steam locomotive of Jangdan Station during the Korean War. Countless tourists took pictures here and looked at the traces of bullets. There were so many holes that I was embarrassed. I could see the horrors of war from old photographs. But a lot of bullets here were enough to know it without old pics.
(2) Imjingak Whistle of Tomorrow
It was like a museum. It was a place where you could feel the reality of division on a long bridge. Photography is a little peculiarly forbidden here. For example, you can take pictures in the direction you see in the picture now. However, it is not possible to take pictures in the right or left direction based on this direction. This is because it is a civilian-controlled area, where foreigners who are not familiar with the situation sometimes looked embarrassed when they saw No Photography while taking pictures in the right or left direction.
- Admission fee: 2,000 won per adult.
- Service hours: 9:00 to 18:00 (March to October) / 9:00 to 17:00 (November to February)
If you walk here, you can see a small exhibition space with glass. The shell shown in the picture was actually used during the Korean War. They made the word DMZ.
Kindly marked by red circles and arrows were bullet marks during the Korean War. I had never experienced the Korean War, but this bullet marks seemed to make me realize that the war was still going on.
I was born and live in a divided country. Every time I travel abroad, many foreigners marvel at South Korea next to North Korea. And every time the news comes out that North Korea is conducting a nuclear test, foreigners living in South Korea sometimes get a phone call from their families saying they should come back soon. Foreigners who live in Korea are not worried about this. Because of a kind of familiarity. Koreans are not so surprised by the news. We are very calm. But seeing the bullet marks I saw in the DMZ and the truce line I saw in person, I realized that I was too much calm so far.
2. Dora Observatory
The Dora Observatory is at the northernmost point of the Military Demarcation Line. I went through the Unification Bridge when I came here from Imjingak Peace Nuri Park. At the Tongil(=Unification) Bridge, soldiers inspected the visitors' identification cards. At that time, I was more surprised to see the Unification Bridge with my own eyes, which I had only seen on TV news. I just couldn't take a picture.
At the Dora Observatory, you can also see the Gaesong Industrial Complex and the village of Gijeong-dong, a North Korean propaganda village. The Dora Observatory is said to be a unification, security and tourism destination made by the government for 300 million won. It has been open to the public since January 1987. From here, you can see North Korea in close proximity through a telescope for 500 won per once.
▶ The easiest way to see the truce line and the demarcation line from the Dora Observatory
I recommend going to the viewing area in the observatory. There was a brief miniature map and buildings. In fact, what was more interesting than the map was stickers on a barrel of glass in the direction of North Korea. If you look at the stickers, you will see the Military Demarcation Line and the truce line, which is exactly where you sit in the first chair and look at the stickers from the inside space. Inside the sticker is the Demilitarized Zone in our area and outside the sticker is the Demilitarized Zone in North Korea.
For a one-time payment of 500 won, you can see North Korea closely through a telescope. Through this, I could see North Korean soldiers at the North Korean guard post, and the Gaesong Industrial complex. If the complex had been in operation so far, I might have seen trucks or people traveling to and from the complex here.
p.s. Some people could not find the complex even with a telescope. Since the telescope is a magnifying glass, it really needs to move slowly in its direction.
If you look without a telescope, it looks just like this. In the picture above, I recommend that you invest 500 won and look at it conveniently with a telescope.
3. Third Tunnel
Third tunnel where internal shooting was not possible. There are ways to walk and ride monorail. I strongly recommend riding monorail. The distance from the ground to the tunnel is about 300 meters, and it is 600 meters if you go back and forth. The problem is that the slope is enormous...It is recommended to pay a little more for monorail rides unconditionally.
Before entering the third tunnel, I watched a short video and went directly into the tunnel. (This order may change.)
A safety helmet is essential when entering a tunnel. It's natural to wear a safety helmet if something is falling on your head or considering the worst. But to tell you the practical part... When you enter the third tunnel, water drops fall off. Wearing a safety helmet can prevent hair from getting wet from such drops of water.
in 3rd tunnel I couldn't film, so Let ma tell my experience...
According to the guide, the tunnel was especially narrow for Westerners because it was dug based on the size of North Korean soldiers. As the guide explained, it seemed really uncomfortable for large Westerners to walk through the tunnel. My mother and I are short (little height is convenient at this time). Haha) It was less uncomfortable than them, but not at all. As I walked through the tunnel, there was a tall Westerner in front of me. I walked in a tunnel based on him. If he walked with his head bent down, I could walk with my back straight, and if he leaned heavily, I had to bend my back a little too. ^^; (Some people should bend their backs more than half as they walk through this tunnel to walk.)
When the South Korean government first discovered the tunnel, the North said.
"The tunnel is a natural tunnel created by nature!"
The visitors who heard this story began to laugh. If you walk through this tunnel yourself, you can see how ridiculous the story is.